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New plans revealed for £120m revamp of station

REVISED plans for the revamp of one of Scotland's busiest railway stations have been unveiled.

NEW LOOK: The full glass facade will transform the front of Queen Street Station and let in much more light than it gets now.
NEW LOOK: The full glass facade will transform the front of Queen Street Station and let in much more light than it gets now.

The overhaul of Queen Street Station in Glasgow, known as the Gateway To The Highlands, will cost £120 million.

It is being carried out as part of the £740m Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Programme, which has already seen Waverley and Haymarket stations in Edinburgh undergo major facelifts.

The Queen Street design, which replaces a blueprint drawn up in 2012, accommodates the longer platforms needed to take nine-carriage trains between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Platforms two, three, four and five will be extended towards the George Square entrance, which will be transformed with a full glass fronted facade.

The east side of the station, currently occupied by the taxi rank, car park and British Transport Police office, will be home to new facilities, and retail and catering units on ground and upper levels.

A new footbridge on the upper level will allow passengers direct access from the station to the Buchanan Galleries shopping centre, with escalators also carrying commuters down to platform level.

The plan also involves the demolition of the Consort House office on the corner of Dundas Street and West George Street, occupied by Strathclyde Passenger for Transport and a Sainsbury's local store.

The extension to the Millennium Hotel would also have to be bought and demolished as part of the plan, which Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown has now put out for consultation.

Mr Brown said: "Queen Street Station is at the heart of Glasgow's railway network and passengers using it should enjoy an experience befitting of that role.

"The Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) scheme will result in 30% more seats and about 20% faster journey times on our flagship route.

"It has already delivered the stunning new-look £25m Haymarket Station and this complete transformation of Queen Street means passengers will benefit at both ends and at all points in between.

"Before then, we will see the completion of electrification of the Cumbernauld line in time for the Commonwealth Games.

"We are now working with partners on the scheme to see these exciting plans come to life."

The Queen Street project is due to be complete by March 2019, with work starting in 2016. It will mean the Victorian roof arch visible from within the station will be seen from George Square and Queen Street for the first time in 50 years.

The station is a crucial part of Scotland's business and tourism infrastructure, carrying holidaymakers from Glasgow to destinations along the west coast and running four services an hour to the capital at peak times.

The EGIP project had originally planned to increase the frequency to six services per hour, with the fastest journey time between the two cities reduced from 50 to 37 minutes.

However, the plans for the overall project were scaled back last summer and longer trains meant the existing four services with a fastest journey time of 42 minutes.

Planned works at Greenhill, south of Bonnybridge; Almond Chord, near Dalmeny; and Croy, near Cumbernauld, were axed, while the plans for Queen Street were substantially increased.

Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson said: "This is an exciting announcement that underlines the key role Queen Street Station plays for Glasgow.

"The redevelopment of the station and surrounding buildings complements our plans for the city centre, and will enable even better connections to the expanded Buchanan Galleries and the Subway."

SPT, which will have to relocate from its premises at Consort House, said keeping the direct link between the train station and Buchanan Street Subway was essential.

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